Amy Klobuchar on Save Our Stages Bill: “I Don’t Want to Lose Music in America”

The Minnesota senator explains why she introduced the bill to help independent venues

United States Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Sen. Amy Klobuchar gives her opening statement during a Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting on Capitol Hill.
Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images
By Bonnie Stiernberg / July 28, 2020 6:30 am

To say that independent music venues have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic is an understatement. They were among the first businesses to close when quarantine began, and they’ll be the last to reopen — likely, in many cases, waiting until there’s a vaccine available — and many are in danger of permanently closing as a result of the financial hardship. To help independent venues weather the storm, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas have introduced the Save Our Stages bill to provide six months of financial support to help “keep venues afloat, pay employees, and preserve a critical economic sector for communities across America.”

As Rolling Stone reports, if passed, “the act would ensure that relief funds only go to small, independent venue operators, promoters, and talent reps. Those that receive grants would be able to use the money to cover costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as pay for rent, utilities, mortgages, personal protective equipment, maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, and expenses that would allow venues to meet local and federal social-distancing guidelines.”

Klobuchar recently gave an interview to Rolling Stone about the bill and why she was inspired to introduce the legislation.

“I don’t want to lose music in America,” she told the publication. “It’s one of our most incredible assets, one of the most incredible parts of our culture in America, and one of our most successful exports to the world. It’s not only goodwill to the world, but it also brings in significant revenue to our country and jobs. And you can’t have creative music and allow new artists and people like Prince — before he was a superstar in our state — without venues where they can perform. And you look at this across the country. You think of the Austin music scene. You think about Nashville. You think about California. You think about Minnesota. All these incredible new crops of artists wouldn’t happen if they didn’t have a place to perform.”

Klobuchar also urged readers to call their local representatives and voice their support for the bill to ensure it passes.

“My message to music fans who want to help their favorite venues is to advocate; call their congresspeople, and say ‘We need you to support this bill,’” she said. “You have fans that go to venues all the time and miss it very much, and then you have people that understand that that’s how their favorite artists got started. You don’t want to take away the way that so many of our artists get started.”

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